Police were notified of reports of smoke coming from the building around 2:35pm today (Sunday 15 October).
No injuries or fatalities have been reported. The building has an expired earthquake prone building notice and has been vacant since April 2019.
The fire is contained, but some sections of the building are structurally damaged so it is not accessible by officers at this stage. A New Zealand Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team will be using a drone to get some preliminary visuals to assess the situation.
Foot traffic and motorists in the area are still being diverted and are advised to avoid the area if possible.
The road is currently closed from Taranaki Street to Victoria Street and some surrounding areas, but the cordon will be reduced soon to Ghuznee Street between Marion and Cuba Streets.
A residential building nearby was temporarily evacuated while an assessment on smoke damage was made. Residents have since returned to the building.
There is no evidence of asbestos at this stage. Environmental officers are testing the surrounding area, and plans of the site are being assessed for any asbestos materials used in construction of the building.
The site will continue to be dampened down by FENZ which in the event of any asbestos being present, will prevent fibres being released into the air. Asbestos fibres are not considered a health risk unless they are present in the air.
Metlink has been notified and bus routes on Ghuznee Street are being temporarily diverted.
The Council has contacted the building owner to offer any assistance they may need and determine next steps.
The Council also has a Building Compliance team working with FENZ to provide them with information on the building.